Europe's Age of Absolutism

A Complete Unit Plan for World History in Middle School or High School

Unit 14 in my World History curriculum covers Europe's absolute monarchs. The lessons and resources here will ensure students understand the definition of absolutism, the important monarchs like Louis XIV, Peter the Great, and others along with how the English Civil War led to limits on the monarch's power.

This unit is packed full of creative and engaging lessons that will spark your students' imaginations.  

You can download the complete unit here with lessons and resources for every day or you can join Students of History and access everything online through a subscription.


The unit begins with a lesson on the rise of absolutism in Europe. A fantastic PowerPoint and “pop up” graphic organizer (with “flipped classroom” video and Google Slides also available) helps students make better connections with Louis XIV, Peter the Great, Philip II, and Henry VIII. As they take notes and follow along, students create pop-up figures for each so they “rise” up from their notebooks.

Following this are several video clips you can use before students work on either the unit guide packet, an interactive notebook page on the causes and effects of absolutism, or one of the digital notebook pages .

The next lesson is a "case study" on the most absolute of these monarchs: Louis XIV and his Palace of Versailles. The available PowerPoint will take students through the elegance and luxury of the palace before they move on to the “Louis XIV’s Daily Schedule” activity.

Students begin a project in the next lesson to help them better understand the impact of these kings and queens. A set of short biographies is included that students can use in pairs or small groups for a poster project. There are also digital notebook activities that can be used here along with several excellent video clips.

Next, students move on to learning about England's transition to a Constitutional Monarchy. After a warm up, there is an excellent English Civil War PowerPoint (also with guided notes, video, and Slides) that covers this entire era. Students then delve further with either a James I Divine Right Primary Source analysis worksheet or an Oliver Cromwell hero or villain analysis.

There are also several review games, videos, and vocabulary review activities (plus the unit guide packet) to help students understand all the key concepts. Lastly, there is an editable unit test, with a Google Forms version also available for easy grading.

You can download the Absolutism & Enlightenment units here and have all these resources saved on your desktop. You can also sign up for a World History subscription to access everything online. Subscriptions grant you immediate access to the ENTIRE World History curriculum. That’s 24 complete units full of engaging resources and lessons. 

You can read more about the differences between TpT purchases and subscriptions here if you’re not sure which option is better for you.

Thanks so much for checking it out!

World History Units